Would Caliban have been more at home in the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans than on the island in The Tempest? Or was Puck a “pakhi” before he morphed into a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? The first few pages of Kalyan Ray’s debut novel Eastwords give a glimpse of an enticing land and a fascinating narrative. Here, Shakespeare pops up on Indian shores and hobnobs with our own Sheikh Piru, straight from the pages of Parashuram’s Ulot Puran. Eastwords is a novel that the professor of English literature in Morris College of the US has written between semesters and bundles of answer scripts.
Ray’s debut has already been inducted in the popular culture studies syllabus at MIT in the US.